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Flats, North Carolina, is way out in the middle of the Smoky Mountains. We’re talking about scenic forests and clear streams here. From google maps, my first impression for a 1920’s era setting would be rugged appalacia and the home of the “Hatfield’s and McCoy’s”, where shotgun weddings and isolated cabins in the woods would be the norm.

Mrs M. J. May lived here. She had been using the Gearhart Knitting Machine for just four months and was having a lot of success with it, so she decided to go into the sock knitting business full-time. In her letter to the Gearhart Knitting Machine Company, she notes that she is able to knit 12 pair of socks per day. This is an important fact, since it is one of the few direct quotes from the original Gearhart Knitting Machine customers related to the amount of socks that can be produced per day. I suspect she would have no more than eight hours per day for this work assuming she had kids and a house to take care of, so she could probably knit one sock in about 20 minutes. Here is her letter to the company:

Flats, N.C. Feb 13-22

Gearhart Knitting Machine Co.,
Knitting Dept.

Dear Friends: –

Am sending by insured mail today 12 prs mens hose. I do hope they will prove OK. I believe they are as good as can be knit.

Please send replacement yarn for […] at once. Send yarn by parcel post. Also for my work. If my work proves satisfactory I want to devote all my time to knitting. I like it fine, and can send you several orders for Knitting Machines. Please give me your best terms to agents. –

Say I want to devote all my time to knitting for you. Can’t you send me 10 or 15 lbs of yarn for me to be working on, this amount would give me employment until I […] get replacement yarn. I can knit 12 pr per day and haven’t had my machine but about 4 weeks.

Please Rush

I am yours Very Respt,
Mrs. M.J. May (16048)
Flats, N.C.

P.S. As to my honesty […] can give you satisfactory references.

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